Media Blitz! Flash Team Talks Rogue Makeovers, Wally West and the Law of Congestion (via CBR)

In an interview posted on Friday, Flash co-writers Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato talked to comic book resources about the arc of their speedster saga.  Going into this week’s first New 52 Grodd story, and upcoming reintroductions of Weather Wizard, Heat Wave and (Golden) Glider, the Flash team delved into the existing relationship between the Rogues and the road to September’s Flash Annual.

Manapul kicks things off by explaining the crescendo of the series thus far:

Francis Manapul: I think there’s a theme that the book is really about overwhelming the Flash. In the first arc, we created this villain who could really be in multiple places at once, so in that sense, the Flash is overwhelmed physically and also overwhelmed emotionally because of the fact that he’s [fighting] an old friend, a guy that he grew up with. It’s kind of an overwhelming time for Barry Allen, having discovered that the weight of the world is on his shoulders. On top of that, the Rogues are slowly starting to get back together; we’re slowly showing what kind of a threat they would be to Barry Allen.

For highlights, including choices made during the redesign of the Rogues and the team’s answer to the Wally West question, follow the jump!

On the change of pace from the “Mob Rule” story:

Manapul: The first arc we really felt it was really rich in subtext, whereas with the current Rogues [story], we’re taking more of a direct approach. I’ll admit it — we read how people react to the issues, and we noticed there was a lot of stuff in the first arc that kind of flew over a lot of people’s heads. So with the Rogues, we’re taking a direct approach on how we’re handling them emotionally and how they reflect Barry Allen. And also, having done a five-issue arc, we thought it was necessary for us to create tighter, shorter stories, to help move things along! [Laughs]

On the much-discussed Rogue redesigns:

Manapul: Captain Cold was really the one that took the most back and forth in terms of where we wanted him to be. The rest of the Rogues were really quite easy. A lot of it stemmed from trying to keep things from the past but also making the way that they look part of the story. They look like they do for certain reasons. Of course, with characters like Heat Wave, he looks drastically different. A lot of those changes to their physical attributes stem from the story, so as we get further along, that they look is going to make a lot more sense.

I don’t feel like we’re reinventing them, except for Turbine and Gorilla Grodd. A lot of readers say they want change, but really, they don’t. They want the characters to stay the same, so the way the Rogues have been written in the past is always writing them exactly the same. Emotionally, they didn’t progress, but they changed everything around them so they would have this illusion of change. The opportunity Brian and I have with the New 52 is, “Where did the last story of the Rogues leave off? Lets take that story and move forward emotionally in a way we wouldn’t have been able to pre-52.”

On the relationship between Captain Cold and Heat Wave, as it stands now:

Manapul: I think issue #11 has one of my favorite scenes of interactions between the Flash and Captain Cold — spoilers! — and Heat Wave. It’s a lot of fun! The issue is going to feel a little like a modern Western. The joke is Barry Allen walks into a bar — and Captain Cold and Heat Wave also walk into a bar. There’s going to be some great interaction between Barry Allen and Leonard Snart, and it’ll be really interesting to see Heat Wave interact with Captain Cold. With regard to the singular event that Lisa Snart mentioned, no one has been more negatively affected by it than Heat Wave. That’s where his emotion lies and why he very much would like to get rid of Captain Cold.

On the theme of the Law of Congestion, a driving force from the first issue of the series:

Buccellato: It’s something that’s really reflective — if you go back to issue #1, we talk about it, and it wasn’t just some passing conversation. There’s a reason why we chose to have Dr. Elias talk about that specific thing. So if people would go back and look upon that issue and then reflect on the issues that have come out afterwards, they can, hopefully, see that there’s more at play than what’s on the page.

Manapul: I think the stories we’ve been putting out have been a continuous study of that theory. In a way, what we did in issue #2 by visually overwhelming — we weren’t just overwhelming Barry Allen, we were overwhelming the readers. If you’re following the concept of the Law of Congestion, right now, a lot of highways are being built. The Law of Congestion says, in order to fix it, destroy all of them.

On Wally West:

Manapul: The thing is, it’s coming from a pure fan perspective. I grew up with Wally West, but it’s one those things that, within the context of the story and the world we’re building, he doesn’t really fit. Really, just focusing on Barry Allen has allowed us to do a more streamlined story and give a very good character study on Barry. Especially since, when you think about it, a lot of people of this generation don’t know Barry Allen that well. I sort of feel it really ties everything together. Here are Brian and I on this journey, writing our first ongoing comic book, and we’re reintroducing Barry Allen and his journey in terms of self-discovery — and it’s the same things the readers are going through. They’re on a journey of discovering who Barry Allen is. Introducing Wally West might murky up the water. It’s not our decision, but I think it’s better that we just focus on Barry Allen. At the end of the day, our mission statement is to make Barry Allen as cool as possible. So we’re putting all our effort into doing that.

For much more, head over to CBR for the full interview!


20 thoughts on “Media Blitz! Flash Team Talks Rogue Makeovers, Wally West and the Law of Congestion (via CBR)

  1. Kyer

    It’s a Zoom plot against communication!

    Suddenly, I can’t read the rightmost parts of comment posts and other ones are so faint I can’t read them at all without highlighting first. Also harder to tell what is a comment to a particular comment…took me a minute before I could make out the light grey lines designating such.

    Curse you, Thawne!

    1. Kelson

      Sorry about that. I’m in the process of setting up a plugin that ties comments into Facebook & Twitter. It’s needed a little adjustment.

  2. kyer

    “Introducing Wally West might murky up the water. It’s not our decision, but I think it’s better that we just focus on Barry Allen. At the end of the day, our mission statement is to make Barry Allen as cool as possible. So we’re putting all our effort into doing that.”

    Anyone who has had any experience navigating the higher ups of their employment or the words of a politician knows that is one layered quadruplet of sentences. My sympathies. 🙁

    On people not really wanting change: I agree…somewhat. People resist change at first even if they want some change, but they only want the reworking if the change is viewed as an improvement. If after the first couple of weeks the change is still being railed against…it wasn’t seen as an improvement.
    As a personal example:
    The first day I was against the high collars, but on second viewing grew to like them. Disliked the raised Flash icon and still do as it looks too bulky on a speedster. Disliked the lines, but now tolerate them as long as they aren’t prominent because they make sense and I immediately liked the way the costume comes out of the ring versus the way it did before.

  3. Eyz

    I like the way the Rogues have been portrayed so far (on the writing), though I miss the old designs..
    People keep talking about Wally. I say, what’s the relation between Barry and Bart now? Any interaction between those two? Is Max still around? And Jessie???

    1. Kelson

      We’re supposed to learn more about Bart in the next few months of Teen Titans, though whether that includes his connection to Barry remains to be seen.

      I’d guess Max, Jesse Quick, Johnny Quick etc. are all out of the picture.

    2. Kyer

      I’m afraid that if any of Wally’s old friends show up it would be yet another case of ‘name recognition’ only. They’d probably make Max a drugged-out bum who only finds enlightenment after a lot of stories, Jessie would be raped or some ‘dumb blonde’, and Johnny the drug dealer who supplies Max.
      She has called it. She hopes she doesn’t live to see it.

  4. Thunderbolt_005

    I am done with buying this series. I feel like DC is just redoing, or repackaging, everything. FJM and BB do nice work, but it is not inventive enough for me. I will read the collected editions. Wally would muddle what FJM and BB are doing wityh Barry, I am just not that intersted in Barry (Flash). I may be in the minority, but I thought we were going someplace new after reading the Mob-Rule storyline.

    I will wait for Wally. So, until then I will save my money.

  5. Greg Elias Post author

    I found this interview especially interesting because they address the more direct approach of the last couple issues. “Mob Rule” was really rich thematically and tied the core Flash concepts to real-life theories and cutting-edge science. I loved that, and like watching the fallout from those first few issues unfold. I hope they go back to that level at some point, it was fun to think about (i.e. Augmented Cognition).

    Also, as someone who stayed into comics as an adult because of Wally West and Wally West alone, I obviously hate that he’s on the shelf. However, the current series is really, really well done, some of the best Flash comics I’ve ever read. I tend to look at Barry as a completely new character, which is only as contradictory as the selective changes being made to the Rogues. His personality is completely different than his original run, and completely different from Flashpoint-era Barry.

      1. kyer

        Yeah, I was looking forward to the trade because I *like* complicated, multi-layered stories. Just because I never was able to outsmart Sherlock Holmes doesn’t mean I don’t want thought provoking plots.

  6. Lia

    Yes, well, if they’re unhappy with how some Rogues fans are responding to the series, I’m unhappy with them “reinventing” the Top and writing my favourite character out of the DC universe. I am not obliged to like the book.

    I don’t think there’s anything unreasonable about, say, Weather Wizard fans being dismayed that he’s now a drug kingpin from another country; he’s no longer the same character, and I’m pretty sure nobody asked for that. It isn’t an emotional progression, it’s a scrapping of one character for another while wearing a veneer of the original. And change may not be inherently bad, but it isn’t inherently good either.

    1. Kyer

      So you’re joining me on boycotting blatantly “DCnU” products, until said company shapes up, mebbe?
      (Because its one thing to nullify a beloved character; it’s quite the other to take change “Bob” to “Joe” while still referring to him as “Bob”. The second is a slap in the face to those who loved “Bob”.) X(

      1. Lia

        I’ve decided to continue The Shade until it finishes in a few issues (I genuinely enjoy it), and keep reading Demon Knights for as long as I enjoy it and the title survives. Beyond that, yeah, I’m done with DC for now. It’s sad and frustrating, not something I want to do.

        1. Kelson

          I’m paring down my own list as well. Dropped Justice League: Dark, thinking about dropping Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE. That just leaves The Shade, Flash, Demon Knights and Resurrection Man – one of which is a limited series, and two of which are in how-long-can-this-last? territory (though I suspect DC has different sales targets for the Dark line than for the main Justice League stuff).

          I’ve become acutely aware that I’m no longer in DC’s target demographic, though I imagine it must be a lot more difficult for fans who were never in that target to begin with.

          1. Lia

            I don’t know, it must be tough knowing that a company once courted you but no longer has much interest. At least I’m used to DC not giving a damn about me :> Still hurts, though.

          2. Kyer

            Dunno. Whoever said “Tis better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all” obviously was born and gone before the DCnU. I’ve now spent far more time grumbling than I did that first magic year before reality knocked me down and I was loving DC like it was the best thing since sliced bread. Even less than a year ago I’d imagined one day picking up JL: International (if only for Booster), Flash (sentimental value), a couple of the Superman books (first superhero I ever smiled at), Kyle’s Green Lantern (because I like him best despite his being the last one I saw in action), and Nightwing (again, sentimental value.)

            I’ve pared that down to maybe the first and only the first Flash trade when I run across it in a used book store or as a bargain discount by somebody using Amazon Marketplace.

            On the plus side did get to read about half of Wally’s stories, and my disgruntlement with new DC did mean I branched out and discovered West Coat Avengers, Daredevil, Little Leaguers, Thrillbent, Wayne Manor (the first fun years anyway) and Sam & Lila. Only the first is hurting my wallet more than this internet connection (I’m as yet only looking at DD as scans.)
            So thanks, DC, for the cold shoulder and handing me to Marvel and webcomics?

          3. Kyer

            Oh finally! (I knew you’d commented about this somewhere…)
            Don’t know when you dropped JL:Dark, but there’s a scan post over at Scans_Daily that shows Lemire is taking over that book.
            ‘Scary’ isn’t my thing, but thought I’d mention it in case your interested. At any rate the art looks good: Zee doesn’t look like a street lady (at least in what is shown), but one of the characters looks like her code name should be Purple Cabbage rather than Black Orchid. *snicker*


    So, so disappointed to read that Wally West was written out of the DC universe. I can’t believe they would just drop a character that obviously meant so much to so many people. I grew up reading Wally West Flash, and I was actually pleased to read that the “sacred” Barry Allen was making a return…but to actually ignore Wally and start over is just insulting!

    Why wouldn’t Wally have just moved on to his own series? I’m sure, given that his hero and mentor (Barry) had returned from the dead, Wally wouldn’t have minded whatsoever giving up the Flash mantle for his predecessor to resume. DC then could have created a whole new comic book ($$$!) with Wally going his own way as a new speedster…hell, it worked for Nightwing. Dick Grayson made it in his own right (with great writing of course – I AM aware none of these characters are real, I’m not mental or anything! lol) so why couldn’t DC have the same respect for Wally?

    I haven’t bothered reading (The) Flash since they fumbled Wally’s exit, and killed off Bart. For shame…


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